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It’s amazing how many pictures I can take of things like my dinner, sunsets, our dogs…yet, I forget to take pictures of people.  Maybe I’m too focused on interacting with them to stop and take a photo.

Tonight, we got to spend time with our friend, Mark.  He’s got a new job that brought him to Phoenix for a couple of days, so I picked him up and we met Dave, the kids, and my parents for dinner.

I first ‘met’ Mark five years ago, through an online writing exercise called Reverb.  Daily prompts were posted and we’d all gaze intently at our navels and earnestly share with our fellow Reverberators.

In addition to getting me writing, Reverb touched of some incredible community building.  I met some really wonderful people who have become good friends.  As time has gone by, I’ve gotten to meet some of these friends in person.  Last year, Mark and his lovely wife, Elaine, were in Arizona for a wedding.  Mark came to dinner at my parents’ house and we all enjoyed the chance to get to meet in person.

This time through, we went to the original Carolina’s for Mexican food.  I teased Mark, telling him that we take our guests to the finest establishments in town.  It’s in an old, rougher neighborhood, in a plain building.  It’s got bars on the windows, a concrete floor, and a mishmash of seating.  There are bullet holes in the walls.  My mom mentioned that what she thought was a mural of mountains on the wall was actually peeling drywall.

You order at a counter, from a menu painted on boards up over the counter…some of the prices are missing, blown off by gusts from the open door.  While not expensive, and served in styrofoam containers with plastic forks, the food is excellent.  Everything is fresh, the salsa has a good kick, and the portions are generous.  We’re pretty picky about Mexican food, and this was really good.  Ben went back and ordered a second burrito, and is determined to try the place for breakfast.

While we waited for our food, we all talked at full speed, touching on everything from driving big rigs, to politics, to cats, to bowling, to football…we covered a lot of ground.  The time went too fast before we realized that the staff was wiping down tables and stacking chairs around us.

We said our goodbyes in the parking lot, and I took Mark back to his motel.  

Tonight, I’m grateful not only for good friends, but also for my family.  I love that my parents, my husband, and my kids all come together and make good company…even though it didn’t occur to any of us to take a picture of each other!